Ajmer is an ancient pilgrimage city, an amalgamation of different cultures. It is one of the holiest cities in India, which attracts both Hindus and Muslims. Situated on the banks of Ana sagar lake and at the base of Aravalli Mountain ranges, Ajmer is a historic city. The magnificient architecture, beautiful lakes, amazing museums and blend of various culture attract tourists from all over to this colourful city.
One such tourist was me, and the first place I wanted to visit was the famous Dargah.
Dargah of Khwaja Muin-Ud-Din Chishti
One of country’s most famous pilgrim centres, the Dargah of the Sufi Saint Khwaja Muin-Ud-Din Chishti. Located in close proximity to the Ajmer Railway Station, the Ajmer Sharif Dargah is visited by people of all faiths from far and wide.
The final resting place of the Saint is popularly known as Garib Nawaz, is approached through a gigantic gate with silver doors. The ‘Buland Darwaza’ or the Great Gate leads to the second courtyard. The grave of the saint lies in a domed chamber encircled by a silver railing and a marble screen.
You have to cover your head inside the shrine, so remember to take a scarf or hankerchief and camera and other bags are not allowed inside. Outside the Dargah is a crowded bazaar. It is filled with ritual offerings, flowers, sweets, shimmering coverlets for the grave, etc.
Ana Sagar and Bara Dari
Ana sagar is a beautiful lake built in 12th Century and named after Anaji Chauhan. Later the Mughal Emperors made additional constructions to beautify this place. The ‘Baradari’, a marble pavilion was built by Shah Jahan and the Daulat Bagh Gardens were laid by Jahangir. A large number of migratory birds including flamingoes flock here during winter.
Bajrang Garh is a Lord Hanuman Temple on top of a small hill looking over Ana Sagar Lake. It is a clean and well maintained temple. The view of lake and the whole city looks amazing from this place, especially at sunset time.
Soni ji ki Nasiyan
Soni ji ki Nasiyan is a Jain Temple, belonging to the Digambar Jain Sect. This red sand stone temple boasts of an amazing man-made gem, the perfect example of traditional Jain style architecture, a real treat to the eyes of devotees and tourists.
You can enter the building through side gate, which is open to public for viewing gold-plated Ayodha Nagri. The view was breath taking. Entire model was gold plated and it had taken 25 years to built this model. You have to see this place to admire the amazing craftsmanship.
Ajmer Fort and Museum
The Akbar’s fort and museum is situated in the center of Ajmer city, near Railway Station. It was built by the great emperor Akbar, to serve as a home on his visits to Ajmer. Unlike other Akbar’s fort, this fort was not situated on any hill. It was right in the middle of the city.
Akbar’s Fort holds an important position in the history of Ajmer as it had acted as a platform for the historic meetings between Emperor Jahangir and Sir Thomas Roe of British East India Company.
A portion of Akbar’s fort was converted into a museum in 1908. There are brilliant military armor and weapons on display. The museum possesses a collection of beautiful stone sculptures and artistic paintings of medieval time. There was reconstruction going on at the fort when I went, still enjoyed looking around and imagining that historic time.
Shopping in Ajmer
There are many markets like Dargah Bazaar, Naya Bazaar, Chudi Bazaar and many more in Ajmer. The popular shopping things in Ajmer markets are antiques and gold and silver jewellery in contemporary designs, bandhini saris and dupattas, embroidered Jodhpuri juttis, ittar (perfume), and sweets. I bought lot of bangles from chudi bazaar. There were only few shops to my disappointment but still being a shopaholic I had to buy.
I also went to the recently opened City Square Mall to explore. It is the first mall and multiplex in Ajmer. It was interesting to see both kinds of markets of Ajmer.
Meeting New People
Wherever we travel to, the wonderful people we meet become a strong memory of that place. I met many people in Ajmer and they were all kind and helpful. I saw this one old turban guy, I stopped him and asked to click his photos, he happily agreed. He stood there till I finished clicking pictures.
On my way to Ana Sagar, met an old lady who was sitting next to me in auto wearing this traditional attire and attractive set of jewellery. I wanted to talk to her, about life, her ornaments, etc. But she was in hurry waiting for her destination. So I asked her for a picture, she smiled and nodded in yes.
All in all Ajmer was a great experience, I wish I had more days to explore the city. I’ll try to come again. For now I got one more place checked off my list. Do visit this place to experience the blend of different cultures. You can either take a cab or local tempo to travel to different places inside the city. Tempos are quite economical though. So like me, you too can have a budget friendly trip to Ajmer.